Mobile Health and Wellness Applications: A Business Model Ontology-Based Review

Mobile Health and Wellness Applications: A Business Model Ontology-Based Review

Shahrokh Nikou (Åbo Akademi University, Turku, Finland) and Harry Bouwman (Delft University of Technology, Delft, Netherlands and Åbo Akademi University, Turku, Finland)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 24
DOI: 10.4018/IJEBR.2017010101
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Abstract

The rapid-pace development in mobile technology offers tremendous opportunities for both the public and private sector in healthcare domain. Unlike other forms of communications, e.g., the Internet, increasingly ubiquitous use of mobile technology and devices allow mobile health and wellness applications to have a greater impact on how care is delivered. Although, technology is an essential tool for healthcare provision, to fully leverage these opportunities other major issues on the emergence of more patient-centric healthcare solutions need to be addressed. A sustainable business model plays a significant role in exploration and exploitation of mobile health and wellness applications. Therefore, this paper presents a systematic literature review based on a business model ontology, in order to lay the basis for exploitation of these applications. The review shows that the extant literature mainly focuses on the service platforms components of business models and their underlying technological challenges, and that non-technological business model components such as value proposition, organizing and revenue models have not attracted the attention that is deemed necessary for exploitation of mobile health care solutions. This paper cautions that in a highly regulated yet often monopolistic industry such as healthcare, the regulatory and the legal issues must be considered as an external business factors.
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Introduction

Mobile health and wellness applications are expected to become an integral part of the daily routines for many, especially for elderly, disabled, and chronically ill people who seek to maintain or develop a healthy lifestyle to cope with health problems. Recently, Shaw et al. (2016) argued that the use of mobile technologies may have the potential to transform care delivery across populations and within individuals if mobile devices are tailored to meet specific patients’ needs. The technological advancements and innovations in mobile (smart) phones equipped with built-in sensors and enhanced computing power provide immense business opportunities for actors in the mobile telecommunications and health applications market. Technological devices manufacturers such as Apple and Samsung recognize opportunities for developing native health and wellness applications to allow people such as those suffering from a chronic disease, to be in more control over their own health conditions (Liu, Zhu, Holroyd, & Seng, 2011). Application developers see opportunities to design and develop sophisticated applications for health care interventions (Liu et al., 2011). Health care service providers and physicians see opportunities to use mobile applications as an alternative channel to monitor patients’ health condition remotely (Chung & Park, 2016; Weinstein et al., 2015). From pharmaceutical companies’ standpoint, smartphone and tablet monitoring applications can be used in clinical trials to reduce error rates and enhance patients’ remote monitoring systems (Milward et al., 2015). Needless to say, people of all ages may find these types of applications useful if their needs and value perceptions are fully addressed. For example, younger generations use mobile wellness applications to monitor their eating habits or to share results of their physical activities, while ageing adults may use them for self-management of health and well-being and to share real-time health-related data with their physicians or healthcare service providers (Mattila et al., 2010).

Mobile health interventions and wellness applications have been receiving increasing attention among both researchers and practitioners which in turn has led to an ever-growing, yet fragmented, body of knowledge. Although, the concepts of well-being, wellness applications, and mobile-technology-based health care interventions promote active life and healthy lifestyles, literature in these domains is inconsistent. Extant reviews of these concepts either focus on the technical challenges such as design aspects (Kuo, 2011) or concentrate on the adoption of such applications (Deng, Mo, & Liu, 2014; Holden & Ben-Tzion, 2010). For instance, on the importance of knowledge exchange in healthcare setting, Khuntia, Tanniru and Zervos (2015) argue that knowledge exchange among the key players such as doctors, family, patients and other care provides plays a crucial role and illustrate how synchronous video consultation with social media features can support the knowledge exchange among a network of health care professionals.

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